John Lewis worker who stole £45,000 of stock jailed

Lau Uong stole items from the stockroom and resold them online.

23 June 2022

A John Lewis stockroom worker who stole more than £45,000 of items and sold them online has been jailed.

Lai Uong, 47, of Southfields in Gravesend, Kent, worked at John Lewis in Bluewater Shopping Centre for more than 17 years before an internal investigation was launched into missing stock.

Between October 2017 and June 2018, items from brands including Apple and Samsung vanished.

They included laptops and mobile phones.

As part of an internal investigation, a test purchase was made for some Apple AirPods, which were being sold on an online selling site connected to Uong.

The item was later confirmed to be John Lewis stock.

Officers carried out a search of Uong’s property and found Apple products with a retail value of £33,799.

These were later confirmed to have been John Lewis stock.

As part of the investigation, officers found there had been sales of more than £24,000 of electrical goods on the online selling site.

Lai Uong has been jailed
Lai Uong has been jailed (Kent Police/PA)

Further enquiries were made with the customers who bought the items, requesting serial numbers for the products they purchased.

These items were all confirmed as John Lewis stock with a retail value of £11,799.

In total, the retail value of the stolen stock was £45,598.

Uong admitted handling stolen goods and on Monday he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court, where he was jailed for two years and eight months.

He was also ordered to pay £170 in costs and a Proceeds of Crime Application was launched.

Investigating officer Jacqueline Brown of the Bluewater Police Team said: “After a long and protracted investigation I am pleased with the outcome achieved from the courts, this demonstrates our willingness to get the best possible outcome for the victims and hold offenders to account for their actions.

“His employer placed a lot of trust in him, and not only did he let his employer down but he also lost his job and will now serve time behind bars for handling the stolen items.”

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